San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Poetry Festival Aims to Brighten Up Lives

“POETRY improves people’s lives,”said Amalia Chaverri, vice-minister of culture.“Last year was a difficult time forCosta Ricans, but poetry allows people toexpress their thoughts and feelings on anytopic they choose” she said, referring to theupcoming poetry festival.From Jan. 30 to March 14, Costa Ricawill be celebrating the “springtime ofpoets” for the sixth year running, incorporatingNational Poetry Day, Jan. 31, andcommemorating the birth of Costa Ricanpoet Jorge Debravo.Under the slogan, “Harkers ofMemory,” the festival aims to bring poetryback into people’s lives. This year, the poetsof today will be invited to recite poems ofold and rediscover forgotten works.“It is important to make poetry visible.In this consumer society, people think thatpoetry is dead. But it isn’t. It is everywhereand still very strong. Poetry is humanizingand brings out the best in people; creatingit and spreading it is very important,” saidJulieta Dobles, vice-president of the Houseof Poetry.Events and activities are free, and willinclude poetry recitals in several San Joséparks with poets as renowned as AlfredoTrejos, a poetry marathon and numerousshort-film showings on the lives of manypoets. Also scheduled are poetry workshopsfor adults and children, exhibitionsand poetry exchange fairs, as well as a circusperformance by the Granada CircusSchool of Nicaragua. Many poetry eventswill be held in libraries around the country(see Calendar, page W-11/12, for details).Anyone feeling creative should sendtheir work to the humoristic poetry contest,open to all Costa Ricans or people residingin Costa Rica. Under the theme, “A Day inSan José,” those over 18 can e-mail a poemin Spanish of any length to, from Feb. 1 until midnighton March 4. Ten winning poems will bepublished on the Internet at, and a prize-giving ceremonywill be held in Café Expresivo, in BarrioEscalante, on the east side of San José, at 7p.m. on March 14. For more information,visit“Poetry is about life. Many people arescared to try it because they think theydon’t know how to do it, but poetry is agame,” said Dobles. “It’s playing withwords, and we hope this festival will bringpoetry into many people’s lives.”

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